Alma Katsu’s debut novel The Taker is the story of Lanore McIlvrae and her eternal love for Jonathan St. Andrew. It’s a story of obsession, possession and everything in between. Part historical, part paranormal, part romance it is a heart-wrenching amalgam of a young woman’s desire and the choices she makes and the consequences of those choices.
The novel begins in present day St. Andrew. Dr. Luke Findley is working the night shift at the hospital when he gets a new patient escorted in by the sheriff. Not altogether out of the ordinary until Luke sees it is a woman, covered in blood. The sheriff and a deputy found her walking down the road, covered in blood.
They leave Lanore in Luke’s hands and return to find a body. As Luke begins to treat Lanny, she asks for Luke’s help in escaping and she tells Luke her story.
Lanore was born in the early nineteenth century. At that time, St. Andrew was a tiny Puritanical village dominated by the logging industry and run by the St. Andrews family. From a young age Lanny has been in love with Jonathan, the St. Andrews oldest child. A friendship blossoms between them that spans years and although Jonathan is a womanizer, Lanny believes she is Jonathan’s true love.
Events lead to Lanny being sent to Boston where she meets a group of people that will forever change the path of her life - as well as Jonathan’s - but can the love Lanore has for Jonathan overcome anything? And will Jonathan ever feel for Lanore what she wants him to feel?
Lanny’s story is gripping from the beginning and as she reveals more and more of herself and how she became immortal to Luke, you are swept away in a moving and at times gripping tale of love and hope, fear and redemption.
I didn’t think Jonathan deserved Lanny’s love. He was a selfish womanizer who only cared about himself. In over two hundred years I wish she would have seen that but her love is blind. In contrast, I loved Adair and his story held me rapt for the entirety and left me wanting more. Although Adair is sadistic and callous, he is also much more complex and I think he was a fascinating character.
I admit I did struggle in the beginning with the present tense narrative but I was soon engrossed in Katsu’s stunning and lyrical descriptive voice.
It is an incredibly well-written first novel and left me in anticipation of her next novel, which lucky for me has just come out. The Reckoning hit stores in June and continues the story of Lanore, Jonathan and Adair.